Gene editing used to create all-male or all-female litters of mice

J. Goodyer,  Science Focus,  2021.

As males are unable to produce milk or lay eggs, the ability to breed cows and hens that produce all-female litters is likely to be high on most poultry and dairy farmers’ wish lists. Now, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute and the University of Kent have come a step closer to realising this goal after successfully using CRISPR gene editing techniques to produce all-female or all-male litters of mice. The technique could also be used to improve animal welfare in areas of scientific research in which only male or only female animals are required for studies, the researchers say. To make the breakthrough the researchers took advantage of the fact that CRISPR consists of two parts – the Cas9 enzyme, which cuts the DNA and enables scientists to alter specific regions of genes, and the guide RNA, which carries the Cas9 enzyme to the desired region on the genome.

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